How to Care for Your Lawn Before Winter
In order to have a healthy yard this coming spring you should protect it from the cold winter weather. Since our yards are so similar to our body's basic needs, it is important that it gets good food, air and water. The perfect time to begin to prep your yard for winter is during the fall, the air is turning cooler but the ground is still warm enough for it to accept our help.
Here is a list of things to do before that first frost sets in:
Popular to contrary belief, those leaves that have accumulated in your yard all year will do your lawn more damage than good. Rake them up and get rid of them, if they are left on the lawn they will block out the sunlight and air. The thicker the layer of leaves the more damage that will be done, and they may even smother your lawn.
When your grass becomes dormant, give it one last final cut for the season, making sure that your lawn is shorter than two inches long. This will prevent it from maintaining moister and setting the stage for diseases to set in during the spring. Also leaving a little mulch (not a blanket) will replace important nitrogen that is lost during the winter months.
You lawn will need breathing room, because your lawn is used so much during the spring, and summer months you will need to aerate it. By aerating it your lawn will be able to breathe better and it will allow any fertilizer that you use to penetrate the ground.
If you have wanted to plant grass, now is the time to do it. Planting grass this time of year will allow the seeds to germinate without all of the weeds. Aeration will help during the germination period and your lawn should fill in before the ground freezes.
One of the best ways to have a healthy lawn next spring is to dethatch it. For those of you who don't know what thatch is, it is all of the dead grass, roots and other debris, it acts as a barrier and will prevent air and water from reaching the soil.
Applying a sustained-release nitrogen fertilizer by mid to late November will prepare it for its debut in early spring. Just because your lawn is sleeping does not mean that it does not need to eat, it just means that it won't need as much. I prefer using Scott's winter time fertilizer.
The last thing you should do while preparing your lawn for winter is to give it on last douse of water, this will help to activate the fertilizer. .
Close down your system and drain the sprinkler system, to prevent your lines from freezing and breaking during the winter months. If you live in the south where we don't have too much of a winter, you may want to water your grass every 3 weeks just to keep it moist.
Keep in mind that even though your lawn maybe dormant, weeds have a tendency to pop-up wherever and whenever they want to, if this becomes a problem, spraying them now will not hurt your lawn, and grab weeds as soon as they come up.